“Love is as Love Does” a 2018 Year-end Reflection

This last post of the year is a review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2018. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. If you’re looking for that kind of resource, check out Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com she has a great guide on it. 

Personally, I’ve been using a tweaked version of the Life in a Notebook annual planning system that my friend, C.J. Hayden developed.  I typically start with a brain-dump of desires, searching questions, and intentions for the year, and then I convert them into projects, goals, and/or commitments. I utilize both a coach and accountability buddies to aid in my own self-determination to turn my desires and intentions into reality. I’ll share more about the planning system in my upcoming event, More Than a Vision Board Party.

If you’re still here with me though, my hope is that through my personal experiences and the resources I’ve personally used and will share with you, you’ll gain some clarity, confirmation, new insight and fresh perspective.

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Physical, Social, Professional, and Financial.

I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2018 was “Cherish” and my personal theme was “Love is as Love Does” with an emphasis on connections and community. 

I have actually had my themes for 2016, 2017, and 2018 since the end of 2015 when I felt a message stirring deep in my gut, to be intentional about “The Work of Transformative Love”. And so this year was about taking all that I learned about self-love and authentic expression (2016), having a love ethic in work (2017), and going out into community “the world” to actually put love into practice where you have no control of the reaction you’ll get and no expectation of reward. (When other people are involved the real lessons begin.)

Let me back up some…I chose the word “cherish” because around Christmas time in 2017, during a routine exam my doctor found a lump in my breast. I’m not sure how other people react to such news but I actually laughed in her face. I was sure only women who had big boobs had breast problems, certainly not I of the itty bitty committee. And I did immediately think worst case scenario, because that’s my default setting and clutch when I need to make sense of things I feel I have no control over. I believe I mentioned before that when I was younger I had a phase where I constantly thought about death; it was the only way for me to stop letting a fear of it control me. I think I looked over my life and grieved for about an hour or two before I prayed for peace of mind regardless of the results, but told G-d that I wanted to live because I still had work to do. The lump hasn’t gone away yet, but it’s benign and I’m gonna take that as the “go ahead” to keep on living and doing the work I was called to do. So, cherish became my word this year. 

After I got the good news report of no cancer, I landed myself in the hospital about 3 days into the new year. I’ve never been hospitalized in my adult life and the experience sparked a new passion for me to really integrate physical health with mental health. I gave up meat and became a Pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish/seafood) with significant reduction of dairy products and more intake a vegan inspired meals. I worked with a functional nutrition health coach. I started a food and health journal to track my eating habits, my water intake, days of GERD attacks, days of intense migraines, etc. so I could see pattens but also to have a track record for better advocating for myself in the care of doctors who aren’t always patient first. While I still love and cherish the experience of walking in nature or doing some yoga stretches in quiet solitude, I also wanted to cherish the connections I made and the communities I was a part of that I often neglected because of my need for a lot of alone time. 

After doing more research on my Enneagram type, I considered taking up dance class and/or martial arts. I did both when I was younger and knew from experience that I felt most alive in the movement arts. In a class setting, I’d connect multiple slices of life such as personal, physical and social. I ended up going to a ballroom dance class after a Facebook friend invited me out. It was fun, but not really my style. Nevertheless, I hope to host more dance meet ups in the future, and I’ve already found a fantastic instructor to facilitate. By coincidence (maybe) I happened to be reviewing my life in a notebook and thought, ‘oh man, the year is almost over and maybe I should see if there’s a decent dojo near me where I can at least go watch a practice’. I got an email from Meetup about a Kendo and Iiado group and took it as a sign to check out. Well, I went into full practice on the 1st day instead of just observing and pretty much got hooked. It’s kicking my butt, I have like level 0 stamina right now, my coordination is waaay off,  and I’ve already aggravated an old knee injury, but I am very happy with my choice and looking forward to seeing my growth while hopefully making meaningful connections to cherish for a lifetime. 

my dojo

When I first came up with the word cherish, it was about cherishing my life because the fragility of my humanity became spotlighted with health issues. However, somewhere along the lines I got caught up in the cycle of enough/not enough and began to think I needed to create a life worth cherishing more. *sigh* I said ‘yes’ to a lot of things this year. But this time, which much greater discernment. Some cool things included: a trip to San Diego for work, a trip to North Carolina to have sister time, a comic con, a trip to DC to visit the African American Museum, and a hiking adventure with my bestie. However, my favorite ‘yes’ adventure was an opportunity to go to Spain. I realized that because of all the hard work I had put in the year prior (2017 theme) and the gift of a grant from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers), I was able to afford something I had always wanted to do, go on a spiritual pilgrimage! So, I went. I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to go or why I wanted to go with the group I went with (Mystic Soul Project) until I saw this quote during my museum trip…

Mystic Soul Project goes to Avila, Spain

When I came back, I felt refreshed! I met some amazing people, new friends I hope to see again next year at a conference we all intend to go to… yet still, something was missing. I was trying to wrap my mind around the experience and what I got out of it, but struggled to find meaning out of what I saw and felt. I struggled long after the trip was over to write the right words to convey what having this space and place to ‘be’ did for me. Hence, I never blogged about it. 

It wasn’t until I came across this text,

“this experience and others like it showed me how the collective unconsciousness of the external world can determine how we experience things as individuals. I came to realize just how much I had internalized external messages of racism and homophobia and projected them onto myself. I saw that I had internalized the message that I was not worthy to be in the space, a part of this practice, in this community, in this lifetime.”

that I understood what I needed to clear out, and how having this space gave me enough breathing room to finally do so. I could fully grieve the pieces of myself that had been hurting for years, to find relief that I wasn’t alone in both the feeling of this deep sense of unworthiness that creeps up in the places of shadow, manifesting as self-sabotage over and over again. And now that I could pinpoint a cause and effect, I could consciously give myself permission to be at ‘home’ within myself and anyplace in the world. The author, Larry Yang then goes on to reflect, “that was for me a moment of waking up. And waking up gives us the power to choose to move toward what is calling us to be free.” Wow! and heck Yes!

I already knew how important spiritual community was to me but after being in a POC-centered setting for spiritual enlivenment, I realized how much I really desired to be in and lend my gifts to communities that gave precedence to people who felt “other”, who were unorthodox, who wanted to simply “belong” and were tired of a inauthentic sense of belonging aka just trying to fit in by way of conformity to mainstream thought and practice even if it conflicted with and often times contradicted their own principles and values for living. Through my involvement with the organization I’d pilgrimed with, I started a POC-centered monthly fellowship where we explore the intersections of contemplation, activism, and healing together. You’re welcome and encouraged to come, (or any of the community groups if you’re not in my neck of the woods). This journey also led me to seeking more knowledge about spiritual activism, healing justice movements, philosophy, physics and theology. I may be going back for my Masters in the near future, or at least taking more spiritual studies coursework. I’ll keep you posted!

In growing my spiritual life, and staying true to wanting to support people who feel “other”, I launched the in-person meet up aspect of my mental health for business owners initiate, Love Yourself Love Your Business. It was decided that we would form a nonprofit organization in 2019. I’m feeling hopeful and grounded about the project and could use all the help I can get with it! 

Taking a step back, I realized that one of my biggest motivations for even caring about my financial slice is any contribution I can give to help build healthy and “beloved” community, protect our environment, and create more peace in the world. But it’s a balancing act. Sometimes an overwhelming balancing act, but boredom will never be an issue! I admit, was more lax in my efforts to make money this year compared to last year which meant more money going out than coming in. On the plus, it forced me to redo my budget and my numbers AND reach out to the finance community with questions regardless of feeling embarrassed about my lack of know-how. I’ve concluded that I can be more impactful with money in my pocket and food in my belly so yeah, I’m going to be operation pay off debt and save money next year.  

This brings me to how I actually do that and find balance. I chose to work in the Virtual Assistance industry because it offered me an opportunity to leverage skills I already had, but also left the door open to possibilities for growth in ways that I feel only entrepreneurship/running a business can give. Being an independent professional, I get to choose the type of clients I want to work with and in turn they choose me as their partner. 

As much as I love seeking deep truth and meaning in the world. as much as I could literally spend all day getting lost in my own personal research, I go nutters if I’m not getting things done in a practical and graspable way to aid the bigger picture. Setting up a crm system so a client can follow up with someone who is willing and able to pay top dollar is instant gratification for me. Learning that said person who paid my client top dollar no longer has to take pills for diabetes or was able to turn a new leaf in their organization because workplace culture improvement…that’s the sweetest reward and satisfaction. I wanted to honor our partnership by increasing my skills, the kind of skills that a robot can’t fulfill such as emotional intelligence, being more ethical in my work, etc. I enrolled and graduated from AssistU and am now connected to a whole community of highly skilled professionals with extensive networks. (And quite frankly, they are just really amazing women.) 

And because I feel at peace in my work, I am more creative and intentional about how I spend my time outside of the work that pays the bills and funds my heart-work projects. As I grew more intentional about how I spent my time, I came back around to the original reason why cherish became my word for the year. I didn’t need to go out and create more “worthy” life experiences to cherish. My life is already full. Even as things fall apart and build back up, as we learn and unlearn lessons, war within ourselves, find peace within ourselves, life is beautiful. Sleeping in a warm bed through the night is cherished experience. Eating good food to heal my body is a cherished experience. Drinking clean water is a cherished experience. Laughing until tears run down my cheeks is a cherished experience. Hugging my friend as she mourns the loss of a relationship is a cherished experience. Feeling deep sadness and disappointment for mankind because of the hate and anger in the world is a cherished experience. Finding a spark of hope from a kind gesture that reminds you that people still care, is a cherished experience. Looking at all the amazing accomplishments of peers via the limited scope of their social media posts and deciding, plus believing that my life matters and is just as valuable even without “all that jazz” is a cherished experience. 

When I view love as a verb, I understand that I do not have to earn my place of belonging. Because “love is as love does” is more about how I live in accordance with the truth that I am already worthy of belonging. That you are already worthy of belonging. And how we honor and cherish the sacredness of this inherent sense of belonging is by how we treat ourselves and one another.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

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The Courage To Reach Out

It started with a mood change.

A couple of months back I felt a shift in my mood, and it took far longer than I’m proud to admit before it finally dawned on me that while the lack of sun made me wish for more beach day weather, I wasn’t taking Vitamin D like I was supposed to and it was probably the main culprit in my melancholy filled days. I’d been avoiding picking some up because I hate taking pills and I figured if I just ate enough veggies I’d be fine…blood work said otherwise, and I stopped being hard-headed and made my way to Vitamin Shoppe. After asking for some help and voicing my strong disinterest in taking pills, the store associate helped me find a liquid version that would do. 

But let me backtrack some…during this rough month of a sinking mood, I caved in on myself. I wasn’t journaling as much, but I was journaling. I didn’t exercise consistently, but I still exercised. I still went to support group and I was busy with work. I figured whatever it was, I’d get over it. Every now and again the “check on your strong friend” post comes around. And I remember  thinking, “what does that even mean?” and if I were the “strong friend” what kind of check-in would I even want that didn’t interrupt my sensibilities as an introvert? My introversion had turned down so many efforts to get me to come out and play, surely who would waste their time reaching out to me and my constant, “maybe next time” or my “I’m in between financial blessings right now”, or even my flat out, “I really don’t like being around a lot of people like that”…? 

On the flip side, I wanted to call up friends and cry or vent or rant or something, but sometimes you get so used to being the person who inspires, the person who uplifts, the person who is sending out the positive vibes in a crazy world in the hopes of giving some kind of balance between good and evil, that you forget that the ones who truly love all of you will know that you’re human and that you need a hug too sometimes. So, instead I thought, “I don’t want to be a burden.” “They’re busy with work and family stuff.” “They’re going through things too and I don’t want to give them my baggage on top of their own.” 

Beware of Stinking Thinking.

Of course, I did eventually notice where my line reasoning was heading and made the vulnerable decision to reach out until someone would listen to me as I shared my struggles and the fears that were keeping me from being…myself, I suppose. Which led my bestie who happens to be a nurse to get on me about taking my vitamins. Even I have to remind myself that loving someone, starting with myself, is hard work, and that it takes effort and a commitment to do that work. Effort presents itself in such subtle ways…ways like not making assumptions about what other people are thinking or their availability to be there for you when you need a helping hand. But also, I recognize and acknowledge that to even be at a place where I can notice my mood dropping and do something about it before it becomes more than that, took years of mental health recovery work. And that my mental health recovery and now ongoing maintenance journey was, and still is my own…

Then I thought about the fact that we are a society that salutes those who are “self-made”, those who pick themselves up by the bootstraps, and have “don’t get sick” health care plans. We wear how tired we are as badges of honor and testament to our value. We are driven by the notion that we must all be able-bodied and able-minded “strong friends”.  In which case, wouldn’t we then need to check on each other since we’re all so “strong”? Yet, we don’t.  Despite being told over and over again, either from the spirit of our hearts, the gut intuition,  or 75 year strong Harvard studies,  that the quality of our life emotionally, physically, and mentally is directly proportional to the quality of our relationships. We still struggle with the very vulnerable position of being the friend that needs to be checked on, to the point that it paralyses us from asking for help in the first place, or even receiving help when it’s offered. 

Have The Courage To Be You.

And there’s that word again, vulnerability. Relationships, whether they are friendships, romantic, business, or internal take vulnerability. And “Once [your] vulnerability is ‘regulated’ by an abiding self-acceptance, [your] sense of personal power is almost unassailable. It can no longer be threatened by some external force beyond [your] control.”  We have to have the courage to be vulnerable even though it’s uncomfortable, even though it isn’t easy…and getting comfortable with vulnerability is something we can learn. 

When I was a little girl, I can remember a time when we would have lunch and then go out for recess. There was a few times when I was slow moving and everyone had already gone on ahead and split into their friend cliques to play tag and such. As I looked over at all the fun, I really wanted to play with everyone else but they seemed so far from me…But whenever I thought to give up, to make myself small…despite my awkwardness, there would always be some kid that would run up to me and silently ask through their playful eyes, “why are you standing here all alone?” and then they’d offer me their hand, and I would in relief and graciousness take it.

The older I got, I would reach for someone’s hand and hope that they would take it. In doing so and depending on who I reached out my hand to, my hope was that they would accept my love and my vulnerability…sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn’t. And when they wouldn’t, life would still go on…go figure! Eventually, I learned to be the friend who ran up to someone and offered my hand, my time, my resources , or simply my presence. I am constantly reminded about how wonderful it feels to both offer a hand, and to receive a hand after mustering up enough courage to reach out. 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

“Work is Love Made Visible” a 2017 Year-end Reflection

This last post of the year is a quick review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2017. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. If you’re looking for that kind of post, check out Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com she has a great guide on it. Personally, I’ve started to use a tweaked version of the Life in a Notebook planning system that my friend C.J. Hayden developed.  I typically do better with a brain-dump of desires for the year, and then writing intentions and goals in 90 day increments.

If you’re still here with me though, my hope is that through my personal experiences and the resources I’ve personally used and will share with you, you gain some clarity, confirmation, new insight and fresh perspective.

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Social, Physical, Professional, and Financial. Though I have come to believe that spirituality is the foundation of the pie and “personal religion” is the slice.

This year I didn’t do a notebook system. Instead, I simply wrote a list of desires and intentions and crafted a vision board, (image you see above). I did the vision board with my family because they were new to the concept and wanted to try something different, and quite frankly I wanted to try something different for this year. I’m typically not big on vision boards, but I wanted my board to be of use to me so I hung it on the wall right next to my desk so that it wouldn’t collect dust. I purposely found words and images that were in alignment with the intentions I had already written down for the year and added intentions to my list that came up as I let my imagination run free gluing images to my board. I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2017 was “Work”. It probably doesn’t seem like it’s the most motivating word but when coupled with my personal theme: “Work is Love Made Visible” (Kahlil Gibran) it made great sense.

I have actually had my themes for 2016, 2017, and 2018 since the end of 2015 when I heard a message deep in my heart, “The Work of Transformative Love”. And so this year was about making what I’ve learned about living love out loud visible through my work.

Because my focus was on putting my head down and “making it do what it do” as Ray Charles said, I did not set big lofty goals for too many things. I wanted to be the best of who I already was, I wanted to do better at what I already had the capacity and grit to level up on. I understood that mastery of your gifts and talents requires prioritizing and focus.

So for my Professional slice, I focused on finishing and publishing my book about mental health and entrepreneurship. I focused on rebranding my business beyond the aesthetics of a new website. I prioritized building a practice filled with clients that I would love. The kind of clients who would inspire me to want to be the best I could be so that they in turn could develop as leaders and serve more people. I’ve been challenged all year to try to think of ways in which I could get things done as efficiently as possible, while also being able to help them iron out ideas and develop new ways to do things. It’s nerve wrecking and exhilarating at the same time. I’ve been challenged to improve my own systems and continue to develop and honor my boundaries, to develop my communication style, to increase my skills and efficiency, and to step up as mental health advocate and event organizer to leaders and would be leaders. Because I’m team #alwaysbelearning I’m super excited to be a new student at AssistU come January.

In my Finance slice I was determined to earn the kind of money that sustained my business and gave me room to create, save and giveback. I discovered that I had to give myself permission to earn money that helps me sustain my life. I had to give myself permission to believe I was worthy of earning more than just survival mode money. I realized that many of us who come from social work backgrounds tend to be the self-sacrificing kind. We are so used to giving with our hearts and not receiving much in return that making money comes with some guilt and feeling uncomfortable. I have to work transform that line of thinking even more that I thought I did. I have to work on a new set of beliefs that tell me making money will help me be in a better position to help more people and to give back on a larger scale. This year I wrote out affirmations and repeated mantras such as “I am worthy of taking action toward a better future that brings me wealth in every area of my life” (hey I don’t knock the power of a placebo effect). I started to pay attention to the wealth of resources I’d been introduced to via my clients who are in the personal finance space. I read, actually liked, and began applying what I read in my friend, Emily’s book, End Financial Stress Now: Immediate Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Financial Outlook I shared one of my client’s new personal finance book for single moms with a special single mom in my life (my lil sis) because why not pass the resources on if they help?

With a better grasp on my professional and financial realities I was able to set aside what I needed in order to create a Physical slice that honed in on what was ailing me. I finally made some long overdue doctor appointments, I had to handle the personal crisis of medical shake ups and make new commitments to my health and wellbeing. As I shared in my last post I began to focus on the connection between gut health and mental health, and became more committed to addressing wellness holistically and with compassion.

It is also with compassion that I forgave myself for letting my social slice narrow down to the bare minimum. I didn’t get out much this year. I recognized that I’m the type to isolate and be perfectly happy alone so I made it a priority to attend gatherings to uplift my spirit, and give me shelter from the storms that brew when I sit inside my mind too long. I made sure to attend support groups, as well as help facilitate support groups. I hung with my few good friends and said yes to new experiences as long as they did not distract me from my work of love. But I didn’t do too much outside of my comfort zone. However, I embraced my quirks and fought hard to remain true to my truths and my values even if it felt uncomfortable, even if others couldn’t receive and accept me for me. I learned to love again and I didn’t rely on anything or any one person to give me that kind of power, I held the courage to grow within myself all along.

I realized that foundationally, spiritually, I had my work cut out for me. It’s hard to choose love when there’s so much hate and fear and animosity all around you. This year I’ve seen many friends become enemies, I’ve seen overt calamity and chaos at levels I hadn’t wanted to fully acknowledge before. It left me very disheartened and fighting feelings of hopelessness. However, I am the type that when I really feel resistance I eventually let myself feel it and all of the fear, worry, and angst right along with it. I confront my negative emotions, I make a decision to do what I feel is life-giving even though it’s hard, even though I get angry, discouraged, and disappointed sometimes. Even as I have to acknowledge that I may not be around to see the seeds planted take root and grow. It seems to me that as society swings from one side of the pendulum to another I have to hold fast to my great commission. I have to remain true to who I am and what I’m here for until I can’t anymore. So while I’d acknowledged the many different set of belief systems that weren’t necessarily in alignment with mine as best I could, I fought to transcend anyone’s box or side of the fence they think I should be on. This year has been tons of learning, collaborating, acting and then finding time for restoration and readying myself for activation time again.

When I reflect back about what I’ve written about purpose, these words come to mind: awareness, acknowledgment and experimentation, courage, mastery, and embodiment. There’s more but I’ll leave it here for now.

As I head into 2018, I hope to take with me the many lessons I’ve learned about taking a concerted effort for love in action and continue to apply it in practice and policy. I hope to take what I’ve learned about exertion rather than apathy and explore creative ways to live awake as much as possible, to be a part of helping others live awake as much as possible, and always staying focused on the message, mission, and ongoing work of love.

Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Live Love Out Loud: A 2016 Year in Review Post

This last post of the year is a quick review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2016. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. My hope is that through my personal experiences you gain some new insight and perspective.

glasess and hearts

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Social, Physical, Professional, and Financial. Though I have come to believe that spirituality is the foundation of the pie and personal religion is the slice. It’s easier to keep it as is for now.

I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2016 was…actually I had 2 words this year Produce and Manifest

“Manifesting is practically translating your purpose, (purpose being loosely defined as your unique expression of love in the world) into an actionable blueprint for the next phase of life’s work which you are uniquely designed for”.

( I honestly cannot remember how I came up with that definition but I know it’s not my original wording; it simply coincided with my thinking, so I put quotes around it. )

My personal theme was: Live Love Out Loud

At the start of the year I identified that my theme was about my personal experience with love,  and the “out loud” part was about getting my thoughts on paper so to speak.

Throughout the year and by the end of the year I had documented out several guidelines and principles (instead of a “How-to” manual or set agenda)  to express what I was recollecting about love, and living with love as my foundation and personal religious practice.  The guidelines became clear to me as I looked to my intentions for each slice of life.

For instance, in my Social Slice (and as I reflect it touches into personal and spiritual as well)  I focused on relationships with men. One way I addressed this focus was through romantic type relationships. I had set out to get back into the dating scene after a much needed hiatus. I thought I’d find myself in a loving committed relationship, but instead I found great disappointment and yet another learning experience.

While I wanted to blame that disappointment on something (someone) outside of myself, I can only reflect on where shadow resided within myself that still needed to heal.  A major shadow area I had  to take a deeper look at was how I wanted to show up to relationships and most importantly, my perception of who was loveable and by whom.  My ACA/ACOA background planted a lot of negative messages in my head that I hadn’t realized still played on repeat. Choosing to be alone; to avoid relationships would not, and did not address those tapes.  Continuing to devour media that I know is purposely meant to make you feel “not enough” so you can buy something to “fix it” also did not help the situation. While I said I was looking to date, I realized later I was looking to confirm my perception of the dating landscape and how men perceived me as a black woman in an era of “black girl magic” coupled with protests about racial and social injustice.  *hint* It wasn’t a very positive outlook.

Let’s just say the whole dating experience triggered the mess out of me.

However, when I wanted to give up completely on the notion of being loved and shutting down that piece of my heart forever, I found that I couldn’t, because I wasn’t bitter and I also didn’t fully believe my negative perception anymore. The love I’d been researching, practicing, and blogging about actually became graspable by how fast I was able to bounce back from let down after let down.  I began to understand that love was always there for me and all I needed to do was reach within so I could perceive it better when I looked out.

I knew I had a right to be mad, (thanks for the reminder Solange) but still, I found compassion, and forgiveness. I sought to heal specific areas of my psyche that I hadn’t thought to analyze and build up coping skills for. And when I wanted to embrace my deepest fears and stay stuck, I chose love that extended beyond myself for true growth; love that sets healthy boundaries and not because a professional told me to have them but because I believed I was worthy of someone who would respect them and that having healthy boundaries would position me for joyful living. I chose love with standards that were no longer based on learned survival mechanisms from the helplessness of childhood, but the kind you discover when you’re realize the hidden power inside.

And when you are no longer concerned with the uncomfortable you feel about putting yourself and your needs 1st you understand that there is no one on this planet that is worth sacrificing your self-esteem over. I re-learned that people who honored their own boundaries, could honor mines. That people who are loving could act loving because they had it to give in the 1st place. And as I remembered what it felt like to be genuinely loved, and cared for (not simply tolerated, or grudgingly accepted) I began to encounter more and more people who showed me love, care, and respect for my boundaries.

I saw how these concepts translated into my professional slice. And knew I needed to let some things go this year that I could no longer carry with me into the new. One of those things was A & D Media. After “A” left the business to me, I hadn’t felt right about continuing it the way I did. Still I pressed on and did the best I could do to stick to the original plan and mission. We had set out to be a social media marketing firm, but as time went by I felt that a firm or even a small agency was not what I really wanted to run, especially when I had to do it without my business partner. After subcontracting with both an agency and a firm, that feeling was confirmed. So I felt a bit stuck for awhile and stopped actively marketing my business.I hid behind client work, I focused on side projects and ignored what helped make those side projects even possible and in turn I made me miserable.

I could not preach out loving yourself loving your business if I was not loving my own. I knew I’d be making changes and I knew I needed help doing so. I began working with the amazing Anastacia Brice of AssistU. I had met quite a few virtual service providers who had worked with her and I admired their confidence, realness, skills, and fire so I was excited to work with an industry pioneer but most importantly someone who claimed that, “Loving is my calling, my honor, my absolute joy, and at the center of everything I do professionally and personally.”

Throughout the year we worked together on a lot of my mindset issues and began developing and documenting business standards and modes of operating that represented how I could make love visible through my work; through a business that represented my strengths, my personality, my aptitude to learn and grow, and my ready and willingness to embrace and embody my authentic self, it would reflect more in how I showed up in my work practices for my clients.  I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve learned a lot of important foundational things along the way. For one, even though I can and do delegate and even partner up from time to time on special projects, (like mental wellness web series, and mental health healing circles) I’m a solopreneurial type of “preneur” and will be rebranding my business to reflect that in 2017.

Between working with my coach and helping one of my clients set up her amazing free make money your honey makeover challenge,(starting January 9th) I had the courage to take a good hard look at my numbers, not estimates, but the true costs of running a business that is sustainable and profitable. It was a wakeup call that if I wanted to remain in business, a mutually beneficial business, I had to stop allowing others to define the worth of my profession and my role in it.

As I look back over the last 12 months, all of this year felt like a set up and preparation for what was to come next. And there was a lot of learning about how I wanted to show up to my personal practice of love along the way. I encountered many circumstances that called for me to step out of my comfort zone, from traveling for work conferences and retreats, to saving a friendship even if that meant sacrificing income, to figuring out how to be an empathetic big sis towards my younger siblings who lost a great deal this year, to learning what it takes to build true community by learning what NOT to do. And I documented as much as possible to reference along the way. Some of these documentations were gathered for the book I’ve been working on about mental health and entrepreneurship which I’m planning to publish in 2017 (This is more concrete now that I have finished my 1st draft) while some of these documentations were meant just for my eyes… for now.

At the start of this post you might have noticed that I underlined actionable blueprint and work. I did this because I noticed one led to the other, so while this year it was about producing this actionable blueprint, next year is most definitely about the work and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

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Unfinished Works I


The Things that Get in the Way

When working on your self-love practice be aware of the things that get in the way.
A blockage to building up your own self-esteem, and the confidence to be the best of who you really are, is the way you handle other people’s success. Truly our reactions are an indicator of our own maturity and belief in ourselves.
If you’re struggling with being happy for others when they celebrate even the smallest of wins amongst the many struggles we all face in life, I encourage you to take a deeper Look Inside yourself. What’s the underlying reason behind you feeling threatened, jealous, or even conflicted?

On the otherhand…Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you don’t feel worthy? Or as worthy as the person or people you deem more worthy than yourself? I think some us of are born into a conscious effort to make us feel beneath others. The best and brightest of us understand it 1st. So because I think what I think and am convinced my thoughts are legit since the proof is in the pudding… I want to know what is the true return on investment for thoughts, feelings, and conclusions of unworthiness, and who is most benefiting from the suffering, the constant inner tug of wars of elevated self-esteem and demoralizing character assassinations based on nothing other than the fabricated truths of an outward appearance? And also Who is most benefiting from your silence?

Testing the Waters

And here I stand
Facing the certainty of an uncertain mind
Facing the shadow of a soul
Too ashamed of its reflection in the mirror
Too rejected by the standards of a power supply ever flowing
Through the fire and unmoving in the wilderness
Through a love story where retribution takes its revenge
Tales of love once had and taken for granted
Tales of unforgiving lives and dreams washed away
And here I lie
Facing a darkness inside that never dies
Facing it would mean a hopeless eternity.
Too afraid to ask for substance
Too dejected to be anyone other than a convenient past time awaiting a death sentence
Through their eyes no other worthy
Through this life bitterness resides
Tales of magic users trying to convince otherwise
Tales are only legit by the winner of wars
And here I am on the battlefield
wondering if I have what it takes to be on the outside, the truth of who I am within.
And if it is worth it in the end.

You Don’t Even Know

There was an article floating around about living because you never know how much of an impact you are being to someone else. It’s true indeed sometimes you will never know how much your smile to a stranger made them feel that someone for once saw them just for that moment and just for that moment life was ok and they would fight for the next moment and another day. I wondered how often we talk ourselves out of doing things that seemingly restart our heart beats but somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that that endeavor wasn’t worthy of our time or talents or even that we ourselves we’re enough for it. I wondered how many times our choice NOT to show up for better or worse ripple effected into missed opportunities to be someone’s shero for the moment. I say even for worse because despite our shaming culture there is ALWAYS someone keeping quiet about what they’ve done, what they’ve been through who hopes they aren’t the only one who prays they aren’t alone that they can somehow find redemption just like someone who came before them.

Everyday heroism may not be as glamorous or as fabulous or lifestyles of the rich and famous worthy. But to someone somewhere unbeknownst to yourself your existence encouraged them to save themselves with whatever bit a courage they could muster up to see themselves through a dark night that could have led to a dark thought, and a dark deed with even darker consequences. You do that by just being you.

Honest moment…I was all over the place this month! I just couldn’t seem to pull my thoughts together in one place and so this was a small collection of the many thoughts floating around in my mind.

Until Next Time…Peace!

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